Capital takes flight as no use of funds locally | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 17, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 17, 2019

Capital takes flight as no use of funds locally

Says PM's adviser at the launch of Padma Bank

Capital flight is taking place because money cannot be put to good use at home, said Mashiur Rahman, the prime minister's economic affairs adviser, yesterday.

If the capital that is going out of sight is added to public assets, the amount of funds available for investment will go up significantly then, accelerating the pace of development, he said.

“We should use this wealth,” Rahman said at the inauguration of Padma Bank at a ceremony held at the capital's The Westin hotel.

Padma Bank was renamed from Farmers Bank recently with a view to getting a clean slate -- from the incidents of irregularities and loan scams that haunted it since its inception in 2013.

In less than three years of its establishment, Farmers Bank became a hotbed for financial irregularities. More than Tk 3,500 crore was siphoned out of the bank, according to the Bangladesh Bank.

Depositors, which included government agencies, started pulling out money, prompting the central bank and the government to step in and rescue the bank.

Rahman yesterday came forward to defend Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, the former chairman of Farmers Bank who presided over the episodes of irregularities and loan scams.

“If he [Alamgir] committed any mistake, he is above the mistake,” the adviser said.

Alamgir was the minister of home affairs from 2011 to 2013 and is currently a lawmaker of the Awami League.

He stepped down from Farmers Bank in November 2017 after the central bank asked for his resignation following investigations, although he continues to maintain his innocence. Rahman went on to invite the private sector to buy stakes in Padma Bank.

At present, four state banks -- Sonali, Janata, Agrani and Rupali -- and state-owned financial institution Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) own 68 percent stakes of Padma Bank.

The bank, which has 57 branches, has launched a new array of attractive banking products, with more in the pipeline, said Chowdhury Nafeez Sarafat, chairman of the bank, in a statement.

“The new programmes we have initiated in the bank are already bearing fruits. We are confident that Padma Bank will be a front-ranking bank in the country in a very short time,” he added.

Md Obayed Ullah Al Masud, chief executive officer of Sonali Bank; Md Abdus Salam Azad, CEO of Janata Bank; Mohammad Shams-Ul-Islam, CEO of Agrani Bank; Md Ataur Rahman Prodhan, CEO of Rupali Bank; and Kazi Sanaul Haq, CEO of ICB, were present at the ceremony.

Md Ehsan Khasru, managing director of Padma Bank, also spoke.

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